As promised, allow us to intoduce you to the menu of the Midwest’s first certified organic restaurant, Crust. Yes, certified - like for so many other government functions, the USDA accredits a variety of companies to actually go out to farms, manufacturers and restaurants to make sure that they’re up to code. Imagine the double certification process if there were to be a kosher organic restaurant! Our bureaucratic heart swoons.
Anyway, when we called Crust a pizza restaurant yesterday, we were ever so slightly mistaken - it would be more accurately termed a FLATBREAD restaurant. With florid prose, Crust describes their product as “pizza’s big brother, worldly and without boundaries…” Oh, come on. The toppings on their flatbreads sound like standard issue gourmet pizzas to us: their El Greco is topped with feta, artichoke, kalamata olive, red onion, and roasted tomato ($10), their Italian Sausage with sweet Italian sausage, provolone, and melted tomatoes ($12), and their Clambake with fresh clams, bechamel, fresh-pulled mozzarella, caramelized onion, and wild herbs ($14). Alright, we suppose that last one is a bit out there; one does not normally find clams and bechamel sauce on pizza.
But whatever you want to call it, it’s organic, local and seasonal. Structurally, the food (which also includes sandwiches like wood-roasted beef with horseradish crème fraiche and sweet onion on pumpernickel for $10, and salads like the Brown Derby with roasted chicken, bacon, egg, cheddar, avocado, tomato, green onion, and russian dressing for $10) has to taste good, because the ingredients are good. That’s the secret to great cooking - start with high quality raw materials, and do as little to them as possible.
Anyway, Crust also features a full organic bar (would you expect any less), including house-infused vodkas, and organic beers from all over. This certified organic thing may be a gimmick, but we find it pretty compelling. Who wants to eat artifice, anyway?